Banking holds no great fascination for me, and I'm glad; the last few decades would have been a sad time, saying goodbye to one old friend after the other. When I looked through these pictures and assembled this site, I was surprised to note that most of these banks are no longer around, having been swallowed by some larger shark. Perhaps they grew large enough to do the swallowing. Like I said before, this site isn't a reference work, so I can't provide a history of Fargo banking here.
The buildings are notable, because with one exception they all hail from the post-war period. Fargo bloomed after WW2, and downtown got a batch of shiny new bank buildings, ranging from the stolid (Gate City) to the bizarre (Merchants) to the damn-near perfect (Northwestern.) But none of them really looked like banks to me. Banks were supposed to be old, marble-columned rooms, solemn places where you heard only the hushed rustle of money being counted, or the heavy clank of a sack of coins dropped on a teller's desk. They were supposed to have a gigantic safe with a guard who carried a Tommy gun. All the banks I went to with my Dad were bright, clean, happy, modern. They didn't look like they had very much money at all.